Five Children’s Books We’ve Loved Lately

Extra Yarn

One of my favorite parts of being a parent is discovering cool books and authors that I might not have known about otherwise (Sandra Boynton, to wit). Once in a while we come across a book on a library excursion that we end up borrowing again and again.  Here are a couple we’ve loved recently that are in the preschool to early-grade-school range:

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett

About a little girl and a box of colourful, seemingly endless yarn she finds in a town that has become devoid of colour.  The story is sweet, it has a fairy tale quality to it (a random archduke shows up!), and the illustrations are beautiful. It is probably up there with my favorite children’s storybooks.

Froodle by Antoinette Portis

A little brown bird decides she is tired of making the same old sounds every day.  Clever and silly.

Kindergarten Diary by Antoinette Portis

By the same author and illustrator of Froodle , Kindergarten Diary features daily diary entries from the perspective of a Kindergartener’s first month at school (especially relevant to our family right now).  Very cute and addresses some common fears. (The main character, Annalisa, also physically resembles a certain rough-and-rumble four-year-old I know.)

Big Bear Hug by Nicholas Oldland

Our whole family loves Nicholas Oldland’s books; we’ve been hooked since getting Up the Creek a few years back.   They are hilarious and have a very distinctly Canadian feel. Big Bear Hug features a lovable black bear who loves hugging and spreading his love around, especially to trees. It’s curious to him that not everyone is receptive to being wrapped in his embrace.

Charlie the Ranch Dog by Ree Drummond

My daughter has had three television loves: Bubble Guppies, Doc McStuffins, and The Pioneer Woman. :)   We love curling up together and watching Ree Drummond prepare recipes and showcase various goings on at her family’s ranch, especially the animals.  So when we stumbled across this series featuring the basset hound Charlie, who makes frequent appearances in the show, it was pretty exciting.  There are three books in the series and they are told from Charlie’s witty perspective. They also include a recipe at the end to try out. This first book in the series is a good place to start!

What are some of your favorite children’s books?

Checking Off the Summer Bucket List: 2016


Fall is here! It’s my favorite season, but lately I’m in a stretch of time where it feels like things are moving way too quickly.  Two weeks ago, the kiddo finished up preschool, and this week she is a full-fledged Kindergartener! The passing of time feels surreal.

So, June this year marked the return of the summer bucket list. I am often aware of the push and pull in wanting to take things slowly and one at a time. Yet, if I don’t put some thought and planning into what I would like to do, it can feel like the things that would be nice to do get pushed to the wayside in the momentum of summer. Like last year, I drew up a quick list of a few things I would like to see happen, made some plans in advance where possible, and crossed my fingers.

Here are 25 fun things that happened that were on our summer bucket list (and a few that weren’t!):

  1. I finally got the hang of grilling pizza. (Keys to success: High heat, having ingredients and supplies at the ready, and making personal-sized pizzas.)
  2. We got (and used!) lots of super-fresh veggies and fruit from Lester’s.
  3. Speaking of the farm, the kiddo and I visited and fed the goats, ponies, llamas, cows and bunnies several times.
  4. Homemade popsicles.  (Include these crazy delicious peach melba popsicles.)
  5. Several ice cream cones were eaten.
  6. Playing at the park.
  7. I read some good novels.
  8. Some of this reading happened outside in the hammock! The kiddo loved doing this, too.
  9. Early on, we did the Lighthouse Picnic in Ferryland.
  10. We visited some fun restaurants (including including the Bonavista Social Club).
  11. We had several meals and snacks on our back deck.
  12. Grilled shrimp tacos. Yes.
  13. A lovely trip out of town to Trinity. (Worth it just for the homemade s’mores at Aunt Sarah’s Chocolate. Swoon.)
  14. The summer was punctuated with some out-of-town house guests, which was nice.
  15. We visited Middle Cove Beach, otherwise known as the Gray Sand Beach with Rocks in our household. (Bonus: Included a whale sighting.)
  16. Summer Carnival at the kiddo’s preschool. She tried her hand at some carnival games and had a blast.
  17. I walked a few of my favorite trails.
  18. Taking a picnic to the park.  We did this several times.
  19. Yoga in the backyard. (In the interest of being real, this happened one time. But the kiddo and I enjoyed having our bare feet on our mats and grass in the warm sun).
  20. A weekend trip with one of my best friends.
  21. Finally taking the kiddo berry picking.  This has been something I’ve been wanting to do for a few years and finally managed it. I was glad to catch the strawberry u-pick while it was open, which was only about a week! It was one of those kid outings that could go either way, but she had a blast hunting through strawberry bushes, the strawberries were warm and delicious, and it was marvelous.
  22. We took the kiddo for her first theater movie. (When asked what her favorite part of the movie was, she said the mini M&Ms.)
  23. T-ball and catch in the backyard. I have my own glove I am breaking in (we are a baseball-loving family) and after about a 30-year break, I discovered I still love catch!
  24. After several months of saying we should really try it out, we finally visited the waterShed Coffee Shop in Petty Harbour.
  25. Driveway art with sidewalk chalk.
Artsy and delicious dessert at the Bonavista Social Club.
Artsy and delicious dessert at the Bonavista Social Club.

The summer felt slow and relaxing, and yet it was also filled with fun things we wanted to do.  I really love how having a rough bucket list seems to make the summer feel more full.  It also meant that it was punctuated with smaller, fun things to look forward to, and doing some tourist-at-home outings made it feel special.  (Plus for me, lists = happiness.)

I’m looking forward to working through my fall bucket list.  What would be on yours?